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Catherine in Wilmington, North Carolina

We just moved into a place about 4 months ago. The house is very old and the owners don’t really put the money into it to fix it they just take the easy road out for the most part, i.e.:instead of replacing siding for insulation, they completely sealed every window in the house so we cannot open any. Anyway, my roommate and I had been feeling symptoms of severe allergies right around the same time, and I have never been a sufferer of sever allergies. A number of co-workers had mold problems before so they told me to do a do-it-yourself test kit. So we did an open air test, it came back absolutly covered in white and black mold spots. We really just want to move, get our deposit back and have them take care of it. However, they are claiming that all BLACK mold isnt bad, and that this mold – which u can see coming through the shower walls was not there when we moved in because he cleaned it real well and there wasnt any mold there.

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Questions:

My question is that black mold cannot develop over 4 months can it? It would most likely have been there before we moved in right? And he claims that he will come and do a thorough cleaning, even though we do that, and remove it from the wall. but that won’t change anything, correct? u cannot jus clean it off right? I am 25 years old, and I wait tables, I am not tryin to get over on anyone or get out of paying rent or anythig. I do not have the money to just move and let them keep my deposit, so I am just making sure we have a case

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4 thoughts on “Catherine in Wilmington, North Carolina

  1. Catherine, I’m sorry to hear about your difficulty. With both of you suffering severe allergy symptoms (a common result of mold exposure) you need to take some kind of action.

    To answer your first question, yes, mold of any kind can develop in a very short period of time, as little as a few days. It is likely, though, that the mold has been there for a greater period of time, especially given the age of the house and the sense of disrepair you’ve conveyed.

    While the problem can be fixed it will take more than a thorough cleaning and your landlord is probably not up for it (time or cost). If you aren’t up for living with the allergies (and I don’t suggest that you do!) then looking for a better place to live is a wise choice.

    My first recommendation is to ask for an out. Explain your concerns and kindly ask that he release you from your contract. If your landlord insists on cleaning, let him and then see if your breathing gets better. It likely will not and, in that situation, make your request again.

  2. http://www.nchfa.com/Homebuyers/Rrights.aspx

    Hi Catherine, Please go to this link and you may find out what your rights are as a tenant living in N.C. This is the N.C. State’s Attorney lining out the laws, regulations, etc.
    Your landlord may be negligent in truly getting to the root of the matter here. No one should have to live in a building and not enjoy fresh air to start with and of course there are people who do make that decision knowing that this is the case. Without a professional mold inspection performed by one who is certified, it can be a total guessing game with little the tenant can do unless the law will back you up and bring the landlord to task. As an owner of a mold remediation company, unless the landlord provides you with a safe, certifiably clean, toxic free home, my suggestion is to leave the dwelling. If your belongings have been contaminated by mold, you can either have them treated (possibly), or they need to be disgarded. We recommend that our clients pack everything in plastic and place them in storage until we go through everything to see if they are redeemable. You may try bringing back one thing as a time to see if there is a reaction. Ammonia will neutralize mycotoxins which are the poisons that are released by mold spores. Sometimes you can wash things in them; sometimes it is not effective depending on the material, severity of the contamination, and the sensitivity of the mold victim. The other major concern is cross contamination where contaminated belongings are taken to a new home and the contamination starts all over again.
    Your health is paramount. Please get out as soon as possible. If you rent or buy in the future ask for proof that the dwelling in certified clean in order to assure that you do not become a target for another unclean, unsafe, home. Best to you, Catherine.

  3. Dear Catherine, You do not have to use harsh chemicals like ammonia. We have a safe and effective way to help with your situation. Our systems use postivie air pressure to supply every room in your home killing mold spores in the air and on surfaces. We saved a family over $20K in belongings with our system. Please check us out at http://www.airandmoldtech.com. We can help you!!

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